[Harp-L] Learn 6 positions first yea


With all due respect, the following does not make sense as a reason for not teaching multiple positions:

- Getting a clean two hole draw note is hard. Really hard. - Likewise any sort of bend, much less controlling it.

What you say is accurate, BUT, once the student learns how to bend, the technique is the same for bending/playing in ANY position. For example, if a student learns to bend well enough to play a major pentatonic scale in SECOND position, the same IDENTICAL breath pattern with the same IDENTICAL bends generates a minor pentatonic scale in FIFTH position. Same IDENTICAL skill set.

So, yeah, learning the TECHNIQUE of bending is tough, but once the student is able to bend, bending is no more or less difficult playing in FIFTH than it is playing in SECOND, for example. Hitting the 3D whole step bend is certainly hard to learn to do consistently well. But it's certainly no harder to do in FOURTH, FIFTH or THIRD than it is in SECOND. The only difference is that in FOURTH it gives you the tonic, in FIFTH it gives you a 4th, in THIRD it gives you a 5th and in SECOND it gives you a 2d. The degree of the scale changes from position to position, but the technique for achieving the bend necessary to hit that note on pitch is IDENTICAL--no harder or easier--in ANY position.

Playing in different positions is just playing the harp in different keys. Once the beginner learns to bend, why restrict them to 1st and 2nd positions? It's like telling a beginning guitar player to only play in E and G. Makes no sense.

Personally, I think it is a flaw in David Barrett's otherwise excellent materials that he does not go beyond third position. I've asked him about this in an email, and he wasn't able to give me a very coherent explanation of why he does not.

BTW, even if you think students learn PATTERNS more readily than they learn notes, the breath PATTERNS in FIRST and FOURTH positions are identical, SECOND and FIFTH are identical, and THIRD and TWELFTH are identical. The only difference is the availability/unavailability of chords that fit.

So, I don't understand why any of these six positions is any more difficult to learn/teach than any other. And, if teaching the student to bend is the biggest obstacle, it seems to me that it would be easier to teach them the minor pentatonic and blues scales in THIRD to start off since there's fewer and less difficult bends needed than in SECOND.

So, that's why what you are saying doesn't make sense to me.

Best regards,


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